Writer Hadeel Masseoud first came across the problem last year:
Last holiday season my three-year old son, Zain, innocently asked me, “Mummy, what is Santa bringing me for Christmas?” I should have known that question was coming. After all, I sent him to pre-school at a Baptist church. He attended chapel every Monday and said blessing before lunch every day. Once when he was two, he waddled over to me and told me in his toddler voice, “Jesus is Love.”
The problem is that Masseoud is a Muslim. Growing up, she actually celebrated Christmas with her family — she didn’t know (or care) that it was a Christian holiday.
However, that all stopped before she was a teenager:
Then came one holiday season when I was twelve. My older sister (who was sixteen at the time and remains the religious crusader in our family to this day) dissuaded my parents from celebrating Christmas any longer. With tears in her eyes and fervor in her heart, she passionately made the case to my parents that Muslims celebrating Christmas was wrong. It didn’t matter that Muslims are taught to love and respect Jesus as a very important prophet of God and celebrating his birth is not technically against any Islamic principles.
What happened when she suggested the possibility of lights and a tree and some presents to her husband?
Mohammad looked at me with an eyebrow raised and said, “You want to celebrate Christmas? Don’t be a sell-out, Hadeel.”
It’s probably not a far cry from the atheist viewpoint. Is it right for us to celebrate a Christian holiday? Are we being sell-outs by joining in on Christian traditions?
I think most of us are fine with the celebrations. The trees/lights/presents aren’t all necessarily Biblical. And they’re fun. What’s the harm, right?
Is there anyone out there who refuses to participate in anything Christmas-related?
(Thanks to Hindu Atheist for the link!)